Notes from A Session on Taxonomy Development and Digital Projects

20 degrees, light snow, 8:00 on a Sunday morning….and I’m about to do a presentation and hopefully lead a discussion on taxonomy development and digital projects for the Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group at the ALA Midwinter conference . As I entered the area, there was only one other person and I thought that perhaps my worst fears had come true – that only the group chair and I would be present! Soon however, additional people began to arrive and by the time we wrapped up the presentation and discussion there were about 40 people present. My presentation covered definitions and examples of controlled vocabularies, from simple lists up to and including ontologies. Examples and pros and cons of each type were presented and discussed. The uses of controlled vocabularies in search and navigation were also presented and discussed. The presentation concluded with more in depth information on term structure, term relationships, notation and other general considerations when developing taxonomies and controlled vocabularies. The slide deck I used is embedded below and it is also available from the ALA conference wiki .

Following the presentation we had about a 30 minute discussion on aspects of the presentation as well as how we use and develop controlled vocabularies for clients in the Dow Jones Taxonomy Services group. There was a good discussion on the differences in the way libraries use vocabularies and do vocabulary development and the way commercial enterprises use controlled vocabularies and taxonomies. Thanks to all the attendees for your participation! please contact me with questions at